Friday, September 11, 2009

NTPP Advocates for Federal Transportation Policy Reform at Seattle Forum

With less than a month to go before the nation’s surface transportation law is due to expire, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP) is hard at work facilitating debate and engaging key transportation decision makers across the country in discussions about the future of our nation’s transportation system.

The NTPP held a public forum in Seattle, Washington on August 27th to discuss its blueprint for reform entitled, “Performance Driven: A New Vision for U.S. Transportation Policy,” and the implications for the Puget Sound region. The forum, the first of many to be held around the country, attracted leading local and national transportation policymakers, academics, and other key transportation stakeholders.

Panelists who spoke at the Seattle event agreed that federal transportation policy, which hasn’t been overhauled in decades, needs immediate reform. NTPP Co-Chair and Former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton urged local citizens, as well as Congress, to push for such reform.

The Seattle forum discussion focused on the importance of greater flexibility in local and regional spending based on performance, as well as highlighted the need for innovative solutions to increase the capacity and performance of the transportation system. A research paper by Thomas A. Horan, Ph.D. on “The Critical Role of Information Technology in Improving Surface Transportation Performancewas released at the forum, calling for an acceleration of ITS innovation in the context of a performance-based federal transportation system.

Held at the Arctic Club Hotel in downtown Seattle, the forum attracted transportation experts from across the state, including State Senator Mary Margaret Haugen; Charlie Howard, Transportation Planning Director for the Puget Sound Regional Council; Dan O’Neal, Commissioner, Washington State Transportation Commission; Steve Marshall, Senior Fellow, Cascadia Center for Regional Development; Joni Earl, Chief Executive Officer, Sound Transit; and J. Tayloe Washburn, Foster Pepper PLLC and Chair of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

A full video recording of the event can be viewed here, as well as a selection of photographs here.

NTPP Co-Chair former Senator Slade Gorton was interviewed following the August 27 event by Jeremy Grater on Seattle’s KOMO Newsradio.

As a result of the Seattle forum a number of news articles and blogs that ran, including:

Transportation dollars should be allocated to maximize larger society goals,

The Seattle Times by Slade Gorton

A Call for Federal Transportation Reform,

Business Improvement Area Blog

New Direction and Goals Unveiled at National Transportation Forum,

Cascadia Prospectus by Mike Wussow

Forget Pork. When It Comes to Transportation Spending, Think Sugar, What’s Wrong with Transportation Policy and How to Get it Right,

The Daily Green by Jim DiPeso

Slade Gorton: Federal transpo dollars should follow clearly stated national objectives,

The Bellingham Herald (Traffic Talk Blog) by Jared Paben

The next NTPP forum will take place in Detroit on Monday, September 21st at the offices of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Invited speakers include: Dennis Archer, NTPP Co-Chair and Former Mayor of Detroit, Jack Basso, NTPP Member and Director of Program Finance and Management at AASHTO, Michigan State Representative Pam Byrnes, among others.